But once there was a real Che Guevara: he is less well known than the fictional puppet that has replaced reality. The true Che was a more significant figure than his fictional clone, for he was the incarnation of what revolution and Marxism really meant in the twentieth century.
Che was no humanist. No communist leader, indeed, ever held humanist values.
Karl Marx certainly was not one. True to their movement's founding prophet, Stalin, Mao, Castro, and Che held no respect for life. Blood needed to be shed if a better world was to be baptized. When criticized by one of his early companions for the death of millions during the Chinese revolution, Mao observed that countless Chinese die everyday, so what did it matter?
Likewise, Che could kill with a shrug.
Trained as a medical doctor in Argentina, he chose not to save lives but to suppress them. After he seized power, Che put to death five hundred "enemies" of the revolution without trial, or even much discrimination.
Castro, no humanist himself, did his best to neutralize Guevara by appointing him Minister for Industry. As could be expected, Che applied Soviet policies to the Cubans: agriculture was destroyed and ghost factories dotted the landscape. He did not care about Cuba's economy or its people
: his purpose was to pursue revolution for its own sake, whatever it meant, like art for art's sake.
Indeed, without his ideology, Che would have been nothing more than another serial killer.
Ideological sloganeering allowed him to kill in larger numbers than any serial killer could imagine, and all in the name of justice. Five centuries ago, Che probably would have been one of those priest/soldiers exterminating Latin America's natives in the name of God. In the name of History, Che, too, saw murder as a necessary tool of a noble cause.
But suppose we judge this Marxist hero by his own criteria: did he actually transform the world? The answer is yes - but for the worse. The communist Cuba he helped to forge is an undisputed and unmitigated failure, much more impoverished and much less free than it was before its "liberation."
Despite the social reforms the left likes to trumpet about Cuba, its literacy rate was higher before Castro came to power, and racism against the black population was less pervasive. Indeed, Cuba's leaders today are far more likely to be white than they were in Batista's day.
The Real Che Guevara | Facts & Arts